ASUU Strike Latest Update: The national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has asked Nigerians to hold the Federal Government responsible if the outstanding issues in the Memorandum of Action (MOA) of December 23, 2020, and issues related to the draft renegotiated agreement of May 2021 are not signed by August ending.
National President of the union, Comrade Victor Emmanuel Osedeke, disclosed this on Monday at a press conference in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, at the end of the National Executive Council meeting held at the University of Ilorin.
He urged Nigerians to put pressure on the Federal Government to sign the agreement in the bid to forestall any imminent strike action by the union.
“ASUU hopes authorities at both the Federal and state government levels would give these matters the urgent attention they deserve to sustain and improve on the current industrial peace on our university campuses,” he stated.
“As at now, a number of issues which border on the welfare and working environment of our members hang precariously on the path of a smooth working relationship between ASUU and governments (Federal and State) in Nigeria.
“Most topical among these are the outstanding issues in the Memorandum of Action (MOA) of 23rd December, 2020 and the issues related to the Draft Renegotiated Agreement of May 2021.”
Comrade Osodeke condemned the plight of state-owned universities saying, “The union is particularly petrified by the declining fortunes and their utter neglect by state governors whose responsibility it is to fund, staff, equip and make the universities nationally and globally competitive.”
He warned that unless urgent and necessary steps are taken, our state-owned universities may soon collapse beyond redemption, hoping that the concerned state governors, governing council, and other individuals and agencies would rise to prevent the calamity.
The ASUU President called on all owners of state universities to, among other things, urgently make adequate budgetary provisions for both capital and recurrent expenditure for infrastructure, staff development, and payment of staff emoluments starting with 2022 budgets.
Osodeke, also asked for the provision of functional pension schemes in line with the 2014 Pension Act, and payment of all salaries and allowances (Including EAA) owed staff with a concrete plan for regular payments subsequently.
He further requested the domestication of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provision) (Amendment) Act of 2012 in all universities where that has not been done.
The union boss further asked the owners of state universities to pay all arrears of third-party deductions such as check-off dues, cooperative contributions and bank loans and pension deductions.
He cautioned against forms of threats and victimisation of ASUU members who legitimately speak out on behalf of the union on the need to address the nagging issues.
On the state of the nation, the union lamented the worsening insecurity situation particularly as it affects the country’s educational institutions.
“Indeed, the mystery surrounding the sudden disappearance of Professor R.B.Adeniyi, of the Department of Mathematics, University of Ilorin, like some others before him on our campuses, had remained unresolved for several months,” he noted.
Comrade Osodeke, charged Nigerian rulers to look inward, tackle corruption headlong, use intelligence to fight insecurity, and gird their loins for home-grown solutions to Nigeria’s problems before other countries and the global community could take us seriously.
Post Credit: DailyPost
Earlier: ASUU Awaits Release of N40bn Earned Allowance
The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it is awaiting the release of the N40 billion earned allowance the Federal Government promised the union, 12 days after it called off the nine-month strike.
The government, it said, has also failed to continue payment of the withheld salaries of its members that are not enrolled on the controversial Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) after paying two months in December.
ASUU called of its strike on December 23, 2020, after a new deal with the government team, led by Labour and Employment Minster Chris Ngige, on December 22.
As a sign of good faith, the government paid two months of the six months withheld salaries of ASUU members, since March last year, leaving four months arrears.
Earlier: ASUU Finally Suspends Over Nine-Month-Old Strike
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has agreed to suspend their over nine-month-old strike on Wednesday, 23rd of December 2020.
ASUU National President, Biodun Ogunyemi made the announcement during a briefing in Abuja, maintaining that the development followed consultations with its National Executive Council (NEC).
He said, “The Academic Staff Union of Universities and Nigeria (federal government) has finally agreed on major issues that will lead to the termination of its 10-month-old strike.”
Ogunyemi also warned that the lecturers would not hesitate to return to strike without notice if the government fails to maintain its own end of the agreement reached with the union.
He, however, noted that owing to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the reopening of schools lies with the Federal and State governments.
Recall that ASUU had embarked on industrial action on the 23rd of March 2020 owing to disagreements with the Federal Government.
Earlier: It’s Amazing ASUU Stayed Out Of Classrooms For So Long —Buhari
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has expressed displeasure over the ongoing strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
He described as “amazing” the failure of the lecturers to suspend their eight-month strike.
The president was quoted as saying this in a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu, after a meeting with 36 state governors on insecurity.
The statement was titled, President Buhari charges governors to work with traditional rulers for local intelligence’.
On the eight-month-long strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the President was quoted as saying “lecturers had not taken into consideration the larger challenges facing the country”.
“Government conceded something. The problem is that they refused to look at the problem of the whole country.
“The Minister of Labour is working hard at it. It is amazing how ASUU will stay out of classrooms for so long. There’s a need for our elites to understand the challenges facing the country,” the president added.
ASUU has been on strike since March 2020 over demands for more funding for public universities and renegotiation of the 2009 FG/ASUU agreement.
Others are outstanding earned academic allowances, the proliferation of universities by state governments and the constitution of Visitation Panels to Federal Universities.
ASUU also opposed the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System used in settling workers salaries by the FG and instead, developed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution which is currently undergoing test-run by the National Information Technology Development Agency.
The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union had also proposed the University General and Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System in place of the IPPIS.
The government said it had agreed to pay N40 billion Earned Academic Allowance, N30billion for the revitalisation of the education sector, and the arrears of salaries to the university teachers, adding that the only outstanding issue was the disagreement over the payment platform.
But ASUU said it is consulting with its members on the next line of action.
Earlier: Lecturers Seeks Time to Conclude Consultations over Strike
The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ((ASUU) has requested that it be given till Wednesday to conclude consultations with its chapters on the terms of resolution of the dispute with the federal government.
Similarly, the federal government team is expected to continue discussions with the organized labour unions on ways of resolving the dispute over the recent increases in the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.
ASUU was expected to revert to the federal government latest last Friday on whether or not it has accepted the proposals to end the nine-month-old industrial action by its members.
But an investigation from THISDAY revealed that ASUU has asked for an extension of time to Wednesday as it could not collate all the branches’ decisions by last Friday.
A source revealed at the weekend that the union had requested that the meeting scheduled for last Friday with the federal government negotiating team be further shifted to Wednesday to enable it to collate and analyze positions of its branches nationwide.
“ASUU requested for the extension of time for it to hold wider consultations with members and to be able to receive positions of the various branches. They said they should be given till Wednesday to conclude their parley with members,” the source said.
At the last meeting with ASUU in November, the federal government had offered to pay the lecturers not registered with the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) salary arrears from April to June using the old payment method as a measure of goodwill, pending the approval of the ASUU-initiated platform, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, while reporting on the offers made by the government to ASUU, said the government had earlier brought an aggregate offer of N50 billion to ASUU, N20 billion for revitalisation and N30 billion for earned allowances.
Ngige said in order to show good faith that the government is still with the lecturers on the issue of funding, a new proposal was made to increase the revitalisation fund from N20 billion to N25 billion and for the earned allowances to be raised to N40 billion immediate payment, making a total of N65 billion for revitalisation.
However, a report has it that ASUU rejected the amount at their last meeting with the government side.
The union demanded N110 billion, which is 50 percent of a tranche of N220 billion it had earlier demanded but the federal government rejected, citing fund paucity.
The disagreement resulted in another offer by the federal government team to raise the revitalisation fund to N40 billion while the earned allowances for unions remain N30 billion.
The federal government also gave assurances that it would address the pending issues of constituting visitation panels for federal universities and raising a new renegotiation team to begin talks with ASUU on the 2009 agreement.
It was based on the new proposal by the federal government that ASUU agreed to go back to brief its organs and to revert to the government last Friday on whether or not it has accepted the terms to call off the strike.
But preliminary reports from the congresses held by ASUU branches last week to ratify the agreement showed a divergence of opinions.
While some accepted the government’s offer, most of them were said to be demanding full payment of their salary arrears up to November before suspending the strike.
Meanwhile, the meeting of the organised labour and the federal government on the hike in fuel price and electricity tariff is scheduled to hold today.
The meeting is meant to enable the government to present to labour details of progress made in fulfilling promises on palliatives aimed at cushioning the socio-economic impact of increases in the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.
The leadership of the two labour unions, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), had insisted on the reversal of the recent increase in the price of petrol, which they described as a violation of its understanding with the government.
Earlier: We’re Still Consulting, No Agreement Yet to Suspend Strike – ASUU President
The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi disclosed on Tuesday that the national leadership of the union is still in consultation with members on what its reply will be to the offers made by the federal government.
“We have what the government is offering and have transmitted the same to our members nationwide and we are consulting on what the next line of action will be. You know a tree does not make a forest and our union is democratic in nature and practice.
“As for how long the consultation would take, I cannot say but it may go beyond this week. Whatever we decide on is definitely going to be in the national interest, the interest of our children, the interest of our members, and the good of all,” he said.
Recall that after series of meetings, the government promised to pay the withheld salaries of lecturers ranging from four to eight months. The government also said it would release N75 billion for the revitalisation of the system and the payment of Earned Academic Allowances.
Earlier: No Agreement Yet to Suspend Strike – ASUU
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has denied news reports that it agreed to call off the ongoing strike after meeting with the Government negotiation team led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige on Friday.
The Federal Government at the meeting at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Labour and Employment reportedly increased its offer for Earned Allowances EA to university-based unions and funding for the revitalization of public universities from N65 billion to N70 billion.
There was a news report that ASUU has given an indication that the meeting, the strike which started in March would soon be called off after a meeting with the leadership of the union and its organs.
According to the report, the university teachers agreed to call off the strike after the government pledged to pay N40 billion for Earned Allowances and N30 billion for the revitalization of the university system bringing the total payment to N70 billion.
It was further reported that the Government agreed to settle the arrears of salaries of the lecturers before December 31.
The report also noted that ASUU was expected to report the agreement to its organs and then communicate their decision to the government after which a date for the calling off of the strike would be announced.
It quoted a source within the university union, that ASUU insisted that the agreement to call off the strike should not be announced until it has been approved by its members.
But ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, has denied knowledge of any agreement to call off the strike, stressing that at the meeting, it was only agreed that the union should convey the Government message to their organs and get back to the Government.
Prof. Ogunyemi, said: ” I am not aware of that. All I know is that we had a meeting and we are going to report to our members. But I don’t know about suspension of the strike.”
However, a source in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, said that after the meeting, the Minister, Senator Ngige, who described the meeting as “fruitful,” added that the government made a proposal to ASUU which it would take back to its members.
Ngige told reporters after the meeting that, “Many issues were discussed at the meeting including salary shortfall, the payment system and revitalization of the university system. I am positive that all the issues would be resolved at our next meeting.”
Friday’s meeting was about the seventh time both sides have met to resolve the issues in contention since the university union embarked on strike on March 23.
After the meeting of last Friday, November 20, the Government agreed to exempt ASUU members who had not enrolled in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and put them on the Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System (GIFMIS) pending when ASUU’S preferred payment platform- the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) will be approved.
ASUU had consistently rejected IPPIS, stressing that it will erode the autonomy of the university system.
Earlier: ASUU Agrees to Call off Strike, to Receive N70bn
The Academic Staff Union of Universities has agreed to call of its eight-month strike which has grounded academic activities in the public universities since March.
The union leadership reached the consensus during a meeting with the government team led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, in Abuja, on Friday.
The government also pledged to pay N40 billion as the Earned Allowance and N30bn for the revitalisation of the university system bringing the total payment to N70 billion.
The FG further agreed to settle the arrears of salaries of the lecturers before December 31.
This is happening one week after the Federal Government accepted the demand by the ASUU that they be exempted from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System pending the approval of their proposed payment system, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution.
ASUU is expected to report the agreement to its organs and then communicate their decision to the government after which a date for the calling off of the strike would be announced.
A source informed our correspondent that ASUU insisted that the agreement should not be announced until it has been approved by its members.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Ngige said the parley was fruitful, adding that the government made a proposal to ASUU which it would take back to its members.
He said, “Many issues were discussed at the meeting including salary shortfall, the payment system and revitalisation of the university system. I am positive that all the issues would be resolved at our next meeting.”
The ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, simply said everything Ngige said was correct and declined further comment.
Earlier: Lecturers’ Union Divided Over Federal Govt’s Offer to End Strike
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) branches are divided over whether to accept the Federal Government’s offer and call off their eight-month-old strike.
The union will harmonise the positions of zones and branches at a meeting in Abuja today.
With some branches insisting that the government must meet all the demands before the strike is called off, the union may put the decision to a vote.
In an exclusive report from TheNation which report that the Ahmadu Bello University branch agreed with the government on the N40 billion Earned Academic Allowance (EAA).
The branch, however, called for payment of the allowance before the strike will be called off.
Lecturers at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Delta State, said negotiations with the Federal Government must be concluded before the strike is called off.
Ezekiel Agbalagba, chairman of ASUU at the university, said the congress on Wednesday accepted the EAA, but rejected the N25 billion for the revitalisation of the varsities.
According to him, the latest concession by the Federal Government is “an offer”, adding: “Let it land in our purse first.”
He added: “We are willing to suspend the strike, but some of those contending issues should be thrashed and thrashed once.”
ASUU chapters of the University of Maiduguri, Yobe State University and Federal University Gashua resolved to get a serious commitment from the Federal Government before they call off the industrial action.
The Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (UAM) ASUU voted to continue with the strike action until the Federal Government implements what was offered during the negotiation.
ASUU – UAM chapter said both their withheld salaries and sundry allowances must be also paid.
A lecturer at UAM, who preferred not to be named, said they voted that the strike should continue until the government fulfils its part of the bargain.
ASUU national leadership will receive reports from zonal coordinators, following state congresses.
After considering the reports, the leadership is expected to take a position and present it to the Federal Government.
A source said some of the congresses voted to call off the strike; others did not.
The source said the congresses agreed on the offers presented by the government to the union and with a timeframe to implement some of them.
The source added: “All the reports will come in today (yesterday) and we can make a decision on it.”
Last Friday, the Federal Government agreed with ASUU’s demand for payment of lecturers’ salaries from February to June through the old platform – the Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System.
The government said the exemption of ASUU from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) was temporary pending when the university lecturers will complete the development of its payment platform – the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
After weeks of negotiations, the government offered to raise the EAA from N30billion to N35billion and the revitalisation fund from N20billion to N25billion.
Cumulatively, the government, through the Accountant-General of the Federation, offered the lecturers N65 billion to call off the strike.
The government also shifted ground on some issues, including the insistence that all the academic staff of federal universities must be paid through the IPPIS platform.
The University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) ASUU Chairman, Prof Moyosore Ajao, said the chapter was in alignment with the national body.
He said: “Our president will make a pronouncement on our resolution after our meeting tomorrow (today).”
A source at the ASUU UNILORIN meeting said the union resolved that “our salaries be paid and must henceforth not be stopped”.
“We also resolved that ASUU is not and cannot be on IPPIS,” he added.
Chairman of University of Jos chapter of ASUU, Dr Lazarus Maigoro, said: “We are under a strict directive from the national body not to release our resolutions yet.”
Sokoto Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Dr Jamilu Shehu, told our correspondent that the zones are expected to make their positions known at the Abuja meeting.
Earlier: ASUU Chapters Begins Voting to Call off Strike or Not – See the Results
Following the new offer made by the Federal Government to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the various chapters of the union have begun voting on whether to accept the offer made by the Federal Government and call off the strike action or not.
Recall that the Federal Government offered the union N65 billion, and suspended the use of IPPIS. The union had then concluded to continue consulting and agreed to get back to the Federal Government (FG) on Friday 27th Nov, after their consultations. The Academic Staff Union of Universities, today, says all the branches, which are over 70, will participate in the decision to either call – off the strike or not. Here are the results of how they are currently voting…
The following institutions have taken their stand on the latest offer issued by FG
1. University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) Rejected the offer ❌
2. Federal University Lafia (FULAFIA) Rejected the offer ❌
3. Federal University Dutsin-ma (FUDMA) Accepted the offer ☑️
4. Micheal Okpara University (MOUAU) Accepted the offer ☑️
5. University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) Accepted the offer ☑️
6. Benue State University (BSU) Rejected the offer ❌
7. University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) Accepted the offer ☑️
8. Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) Accepted the offer ☑️
9. Umaru Musa Yaradua University (UMYU) Accepted the offer ☑️
10. University of Calabar (UNICAL) Accepted the offer ☑️
11. University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) Accepted the offer ☑️
12. Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Accepted the offer ☑️
13. Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Rejected the offer ❌
14. Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) Accepted the offer ☑️
15. Federal University Gusau (FUGUS) ☑️
16. Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) ☑️
17. University of Lagos (UNILAG) ☑️
18. University of Uyo (UNIUYO) ☑️
19. University of Abuja (UNIABUJA) ☑️
20. Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria ☑️
21. University of Ibadan (UI) ☑️
22. Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) Rejected the offer ❌
23. Adekunle Ajasin University (AAUA) Rejected the offer ❌
24. Abia State University (ABSU) Accepted the offer ☑️
25. Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) Rejected the offer ❌
26. Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) Rejected the offer ❌
27. Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) Rejected the offer ❌
28. ANSU Accepted the offer ☑️
29. IBBU Accepted the offer ☑️
30. Gombe State University (GSU) Accepted the offer ☑️
30. Bayero University Kano (BUK) Accepted the offer ☑️
30. Usman Dan-Fodio University Sokoto (UDUSOK) Accepted the offer ☑️
We will continue to update this list as the results come in, so endeavour to check this page from time to time.
Earlier: Federal Govt Suspends the Use of IPPIS for ASUU, Offers N65 Billion
The Federal Government has offered to pay the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) N65 billion for Earned Academic Allowance and revitalization. The government also agreed to pay the striking lecturers through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System) until ASUU’s University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) was ready for usage.
These are some of the agreements reached at the meeting held today. The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige told reporters that the Accountant-General of the Federation ( AGF) has offered to release N40 billion or in the alternative, N35 billion to be shared by all the registered Trade Unions in the universities after providing necessary evidence of having earned the allowance.
Ngige said all vice-chancellors are to submit details of the EAA/EA to the National Universities Commission (NUC) on or before November 30.
Speaking on the issue of withheld salaries, Ngige said the Federal Ministry of Labour and Federal Ministry of Education will review the issue of “no work, no pay” as stipulated in Section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act Cap T8 laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004 with a view to getting approval for the withheld salaries to be paid.
He said the lecturers will also be paid on the old payment platform pending the time when all issues are resolved.
Meanwhile, the National President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, said ”ASUU will take the new offer to its members.”
“We will give the government our response by next week after discussing with our members,” he said.
Earlier: Striking Lecturers to Meet FG Tomorrow, 20th Nov.
The Federal Government has said it will resume meeting with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Friday, 20th November 2020. The Ministry of Labour and Employment disclosed this on Wednesday night.
The parley is expected to address various pending issues, including the contentious payment platform preferred by the union. Recalled that ASUU had opposed the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System used in settling workers’ salaries by the FG and instead, developed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution which is currently undergoing test-run by the National Information Technology Development Agency.
The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union had also proposed the University General and Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System in place of the IPPIS. Their action followed the complaints against the IPPIS which allegedly caused salary delays and shortchanged the university workers.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment spokesman, Charles Akpan, disclosed in a text message on Wednesday that the dialogue with the ASUU leaders would hold at the minister’s conference hall.
The government said it had agreed to pay N30 billion Earned Academic Allowance, N20 billion for the revitalization of the education sector, and the arrears of salaries to the university teachers, adding that the only outstanding issue was the disagreement over the payment platform. But ASUU insisted that the government has not met its demands, noting that the resolution of the eight-month strike was not in sight.
Earlier: Integrity Test for UTAS will Last Between 6 – 8 months – Federal Govt.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has remarked that the integrity test being conducted on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)’s proposed payment software would last between six and eight months.
The union had embarked on strike for over eight months to protest among other things, the Federal Government’s preferred Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and suggested the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as an alternative for its members.
While speaking on Tuesday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Ngige stated that the integrity test is being conducted by the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
The minister maintained that even if the software passes the integrity test, the lecturers don’t have the money to procure the necessary hardware for its implementation, adding that the Federal Government did not make provision for the procurement of the UTAS hardware in the budget.
Meanwhile, ASUU has blamed the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, over the prolonged strike, accusing him of showing what it called “disdain for Nigerian academics.”
The union said it was obvious that Ngige, through his recent utterances, had clearly shown his disdain for the lecturers and had failed to play the role of an unbiased umpire in resolving the issue.
Earlier: ASUU Strike Lingers As No New Negotiation Date is Set
There is heightened disagreement between the Federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as both parties is yet to fix a date for the resumption of negotiations that will bring about a peaceful resolution of the over eight months old strike.
While addressing the issue in Abuja, Permanent Secretary to the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Sonny Echonu maintained that the lingering strike is uncalled for and unnecessary, as there is shared acceptance of so many of the issues. He further said that all the contending issues have been resolved except one.
The Permanent Secretary who stated that work is ongoing stressed that reason is expected to prevail. Mr. Echonu reiterated the fact that the overall national interest will be the guiding principle to bring about a quick resolution of the industrial dispute.
However, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi faulted the claims made by the permanent secretary. He revealed that pending issues such as withheld salaries of members, presentation of the visitation panel, the announcement of negotiating teams, among others, have not been resolved.
He called on the federal government to handle the union’s agitation with all the seriousness required, stressing that poor handling of the industrial crisis could lead to another wave of brain drain which will have a crippling effect on academia and the entire nation.
According to him, members will not return to the classroom until the promises made by the government are clearly and satisfactorily delivered, stressing that there is a difference between addressing issues and delivering on all of the issues.
Earlier: UTAS Can Be Ready in Three Weeks if FG is Sincere
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that if the Federal Government is sincere and committed to ending the ongoing strike, the union’s proposed payment platform, the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) can be ready in three weeks.
ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi maintained that there was no need to use the IPPIS since the UTAS process is at its final stage. He maintained that the union has submitted documents to the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to finalize the integrity test of the payment platform.
If the FG is sincere, UTAS can be ready in three weeks – ASUU
Prof Ogunyemi who queried the federal government’s insistence on the IPPIS stated that there was a hidden agenda about it. He added that the union will soon expose those with any ulterior motive behind the IPPIS.
This is coming after the FG had told ASUU to transit to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) pending when UTAS would be ready for use.
While reacting to the issue of the N30bn Earned Academic Allowance offered by the FG which ASUU said it would be for its members alone, Ogunyemi explained that the union negotiated for ASUU, not for other unions.
Earlier: ASUU Strike Continues As FG-ASUU Meeting Ends in Deadlocked
The meeting between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities ended in a stalemate for the third time on Wednesday, as the parties again failed to resolve the issues around the payment platform for salaries and other benefits.
Besides, ASUU was insisting that the N30bn Earned Academic Allowances offered by the Federal Government would be for its members alone, a demand the government team said was not feasible.
The government had offered N30b to all the unions in the universities and another N20b as revitalization fund, totalling N50b during their meeting on October 15.
Recall that ASUU had on March 23 begun an indefinite strike over the Federal Government’s insistence on implementing the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, which the government said all its employees must adopt for their salaries to be paid.
Besides opposing the IPPIS, the union also accused the FG of not abiding by agreements both sides signed a few years ago.
At their resumed meeting in Abuja on Wednesday which lasted for over two hours, the parties could not resolve the contentious issues around the payment system to be deployed.
It was gathered that ASUU was still insisting on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution which it developed as an alternative to the IPPIS.
However, the union submitted a document on UTAS for onward submission to the National Information Technology Development Agency for evaluation and testing of the software.
Briefing journalists after the parley, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige said the university lecturers had earlier demanded N110b for the revitalisation of the university system, adding that the Federal Goverment offered N20b and N30b for earned academic allowances.
He noted that the N20b was offered to ASUU as a sign of good faith based on the Memorandum of Understanding entered into in 2013 as a result of the renegotiation they had with the government in 2009.
Ngige explained that the government was committed to the revitalization of the university system but added that it was constrained by the dire economic situation occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister said, “This government is not against revitalization but this government says that because of the dire economic situation occasioned by COVID-19, we cannot really pay in the N110b which they are demanding for revitalisation.
“We offered N20b as revitalisation fund. On Earned Academic Allowances, the government offered N30b to all the unions in the universities, making it N50b altogether.
“ASUU is saying that the N30b should be for lecturers alone, irrespective of the fact that there are three other unions. So there is a little problem there. We don’t have any money to offer apart from this N30b.”
Ngige disclosed that the meeting made relative progress on the UTAS as the union submitted their document on the software for evaluation by the NITDA.
He recalled that the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami had approved that NITDA (the National Information Development Agency) should subject UTAS to integrity test.
He added, “As you know last week, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy had approved that NITDA gets their system (UTAS) and subject it to integrity test. This test should be conducted without fear or favour and as early as possible. So today (Wednesday), they have submitted the document for onward transmission to NITDA.”
The minister further pointed out that the transition period for the payment of the salary and other allowances had not been resolved as a result of the disagreement over the payment platform.
He said, “One other issue that has arisen is the issue of the transition period. How do you get the Earned Academic Allowances that is due to you or any other entitlement that the government want to pay you?
“They want an exemption from the IPPIS and the government side headed by the Accountant-General of the Federation said that IPPIS is the only government-approved payment platform. So that is where were are for now.
“So we are all going back to our principals and they will receive from me the irreducible minimum of what the federal government has to offer.”
The minister added, “The government side will meet on Friday and after that, they will communicate with ASUU and in communicating with them, if there is a need for a meeting, a date will be fixed for it.”
Responding to a question on the seeming intransigence of ASUU, Ngige said the FG may be forced to take legal action against the union if it failed to respond to the offers made to resolve the crisis and call off its eight-month strike.
The ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said his delegation would consult with the stakeholders and revert to the government on the resolutions reached at the meeting.
Earlier: Taraba State University Organizes Prayer Sessions
The Taraba State University Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Tuesday organised prayer sessions for God’s intervention over the prolonged nation-wide strike and other internal issues peculiar to the institution. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Christian and Muslim members of the union held separate prayer sessions at different venues to solicit for God’s intervention.
Mbave Garba, the former Vice Chairman of the union, told Journalists at the end of the prayer sessions that what was happening to public universities in the country was not ordinary, hence the need to turn to God. “We have no other choice at this point than to turn to God for intervention because we have exhausted all other means to resolve the issues. “Apart from the nation-wide strike action over IPPIS and other issues, we have serious internal matters with the management and with funding of the university.
“Our members have gone for two months without salary and without any explanation for such action from the Taraba government and university management,” he said. Garba prayed for God to touch the hearts of all the individuals and groups that are responsible for the non-resolution of these issues, so as to bring sanity into the system.
Earlier: ASUU and Federal Govt. Meets Again Today
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government will hold a meeting today in Abuja, in furtherance of deliberations to call off the ongoing ASUU strike and the resumption of full academic activities.
ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi who confirmed the development on Tuesday, explained that the meeting was in continuation of series of meetings that have been held with government representatives in the past.
The leadership of the union had earlier maintained that they have five major issues that led to the withdrawal of their services a few months ago, but the major concern is the adoption of the University Transparency Account System (UTAS) for the personnel management of its members.
He said: “After our last meeting with Government representatives, we collectively agreed that I should return to my people to update them on the resolutions. I have been doing that since the last time we met with the government.
“So, all the parties involved have agreed to return to the dialogue table on Wednesday to continue discussions and search for durable labour peace in the University system. That’s the much I can say for now.”
Prof. Ogunyemi, however, maintained that the decision to call off the strike is dependent on the outcome of the meeting.
Earlier: Why We Haven’t Called Off the Strike Action – ASUU Reveals
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has revealed that it is yet to call off its ongoing strike because it is waiting for the government to conduct an integrity test on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
The UTAS is the payment platform created by ASUU in place of the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
ASSU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi in an interview with The PUNCH said the government needed to give clearance to the National Information Technology Development Agency to conduct an integrity test on UTAS.
“The integrity test will be handled by NITDA, it is the government that will facilitate it because NITDA is a government, agency and unless you get clearance from the government that test cannot be conducted.”
While speaking on whether the government had accepted UTAS, Ogunyemi said, “We are still talking, we have given them the position of our members, we are thinking we should be able to hold a meeting this week if they have not changed plans. The meeting for Monday was postponed. In principal, they have accepted UTAS and told us to go for the test, and on our part, we have started the process. We had presented UTAS at three levels, starting with the Ministry of Education, Senate President and members of his team, officials of Ministry of Finance and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, where all other stakeholders were present, including NITDA, all stakeholders have witnessed the presentation and the next stage of integrity test is what we are moving in to. If the government facilitates it, it is not something that should drag for too long at all. We don’t foresee any problem with UTAS; it also depends on how early the government makes it possible for the integrity test to be conducted.”
Ogunyemi also explained that ASUU was ready to resume academic activities if the government was ready to play its part.
“Our members are ready to resume work as early as the government is ready to play its part. I’m sure you are not suggesting that our members should resume an empty stomach or the strike should be suspended without any concrete action on the side of the government. We don’t like to stay away from our work because we like our students, they are also our children.
As far as we are concerned, we don’t have an issue with going back to work, but we want more sincerity on the side of the government.
“We have not seen enough reasons to believe that they don’t mean what they are telling us but as soon as we see any sign to that effect. we will tell Nigerians.”
The Federal Government has disclosed that the earned allowances that the government has promised to release to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will be shared with other university unions in the country and not just limited to ASUU.
On October 16, the Federal government in a meeting with the representatives of ASUU had agreed to release the sum of N30 billion as part of the unpaid earned allowance to workers, as part of the requirement to put a stop to the union’s six-month-old strike action.
The government has now stated that the monies will be shared between the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), after a meeting with representatives of the non-academics on Wednesday.
This was disclosed by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Labour, Charles Akpan. M. Akpan said that the unions would work with the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, National University Commission (NUC), and Federal Ministry of Education to achieve that by the end of December 2020.
Earlier: Strike Action Set to End As Lecturers Reaches Agreement With FG
Indications reveal that ASUU strike may soon be a thing of the past as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Thursday, October 15, struck a unilateral settlement with the federal government after months of discrepancies – With all hands now on deck, lecturers may tentatively resume back to lecture rooms on Wednesday, October 21.
With the federal government and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) striking a unilateral decision after months of disparity, there are clear indications that lecturers may return to classes soon. Recall that after a lot of meetings, mostly characterised by the deadlock, the federal government on Thursday, October 15, resolved to pay university lecturers the sum of N30 billion earned academic allowances.
According to the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, the money would be paid in instalments from May 2021 to January 2022. Budget defence to commence as Senate suspends plenary for 2 weeks Lecturers may tentatively resume back to lecture rooms on Wednesday, October 21 after ASUU reached agreements with Buhari-led government.
Added to this, to put an end to the seven-month-long strike by the union, the federal government also agreed to release N20bn meant for the revitalisation of the education sector. Other issues resolved are the Nigerian University Pension Management Company Limited (NUPEMCO) on which ASUU was satisfied and accepted the progress made so far. In a subsequent development, emerging reports claim that ASUU may burry its hatchets and resume back to classes on Wednesday, October 21, after a clear hint that the Ministries of Education and Finance will hasten the release of the funds as agreed by both parties.
Earlier: UTAS Is A Better Alternative To IPPIS, ASUU Insists
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has confronted the Federal Government on its insistence of spending money to enroll workers on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) instead of the union’s University Transparency and Accountability System (UTAS).
The National President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi made this challenge on Sunday, maintaining that the UTAS is a better alternative that can be used for the same payment purpose and was free of charge.
Professor Ogunyemi who said the UTAS integrity process was close to being actualized, said he was amazed at the government’s wastage of scarce public resources on the IPPIS system that will not meet the desired outcome in terms of performance.
ASUU president stated that the government’s claim that most university lecturers have been enrolled in IPPIS was false, maintaining that not up to one-quarter of its members are on the payment platform.
He said “The few ones on the platform are of three categories. The first being those close to retirement or those retiring who felt being enrolled would help secure their entitlements. “The second category is the newly-recruited staff who also felt they wanted to secure their jobs and those who were cajoled into enrolling.”
On the result of ASUU’s meeting with the government delegation, Ogunyemi said nothing was really achieved because matters for discussion were just opened before the meeting ended. He added that another meeting would take place during the week but could not confirm the date yet.
Earlier: Minister of Labour Blames ASUU Strike for the #EndSARS Protest
Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment has attributed the massive turnout of the #EndSARS protest across the country to the prolonged strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The minister stated this at the ongoing reconciliatory meeting between representatives of ASUU and government, that held on Thursday, October 15.
The minister at the meeting maintained that the Federal government is not trying to replace the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), with the University Transparency Account System (UTAS), and was hoping that the meeting will yield some good fruits to put an end as the continuous strike action, which is boosting the ongoing nationwide protests of #EndSARS.
The Minister also noted that the government has commenced the process of testing UTAS which ASUU members claim has the features of university systems. He stated that all three stages of the test will be concluded within the time frame the union gave the government.
Earlier: Senate Steps in to End ASUU – FG Disagreement
Nigerian Senate has stepped in the ongoing disagreement between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan who spoke with delegations of the academic union led by its President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi on Monday in Abuja, noted that the meeting was to enable the National Assembly to intervene in the issue and put an end to the ongoing strike.
According to the Senate, it was disturbing and worrisome that the federal government will sign agreements it knows are difficult and sometimes impossible to implement.
Senator Lawan who pleaded with both the government and ASUU to find a common ground in the interest of the students further urged the union members to be prepared to meet the government halfway and end the strike so that students can go back to class.
He further restated that the situation was not healthy for the country’s tertiary institutions and told ASUU that it cannot get everything it is demanding from the government because some of the signed agreements of previous years have already been taken over by events.
Earlier: Only ASUU Members on IPPIS Will Be Paid – President Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, maintained in his annual speech to the joint session of the two chambers of the National Assembly that only members of the Association of Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will be paid.
He restated the federal government’s position on the payment of university lecturers’ salaries using the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) payment method and explained that all sectors of the economy would be given attention in the 2021 budget allocation.
While highlighting the 2021 Appropriation budget to the National Assembly, he remarked that lecturers who have been enrolled in the IPPIS will be paid their salaries without difficulty.
President Buhari admonished ASUU to recognize and understand the efforts of the government in removing fraud from the nation’s educational institutions.
Earlier: ASUU Strike Will Soon Be Over – Federal Govt.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has revealed that the ongoing strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will soon come to an end.
Dr. Ngige who disclosed this on Tuesday stated that the Ministries of Finance, Education, Labour and Employment and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation will meet with the academic union.
The Minister’s remarks come three days after ASUU said it had not called off its nationwide strike and that, the industrial action would continue until its demands are met by the Federal Government.
It will be recalled that the union embarked on an industrial action on March 23 protesting the government’s use of force to enroll members on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as well as a request for the Federal Government to implement the 2012 universities’ needs assessment.
Earlier: ASUU Warns Lecturers in River State Against Resuming
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has warned Rivers State lecturers against resuming. See the full details below.
In the ongoing strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), lecturers in Rivers State-owned universities have been warned against resuming lectures.
National President of the Association, Abiodun Ogunyemi disclosed this after the Rivers State Government announced the reopening of tertiary, secondary, and vocational institutions from Monday, October 5.
The ASUU President stressed that its branches were still a part of the ongoing strike and any violation of their directives will be appropriately sanctioned.
Also speaking, the Port Harcourt Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Uzo Onyebinama said although the unions in Rivers State universities were on suspension for previously flouting the order of strike, it did not expect the members to resume classes.
Earlier: Lecturers Vows Not to Resume Until Their Demands are Met by Federal Govt.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has vowed that the members of the union would not go back to work until all the demands that led to its nationwide strike on March 23rd, 2020 as well as the issue concerning IPPIS are addressed by the federal government and measures that would make students obey Covid-19 safety protocols to avert tragedy in schools are provided.
This was disclosed by Professor Ade Adejumo, ASUU zonal coordinator of Ibadan zone, comprising of the University of Ibadan, Unilorin, UniOsun, KWASU, and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), in Ilorin at a news conference.
According to him “our strike action which was predicated on governments readiness to honour its MOA with us continues, even if the universities are opened today. It is our responsibility to call governments attention to its duties to the nation and its citizens; this we have done and there is no going back”. He said, “It is unfortunate that the government has refused to take upon its own responsibility to use the period of the Covid-19 pandemic to address their demands.
Adejumo, noted that there have been agitations from some quarters for the government to re-open schools, especially by proprietors of private universities, he however stated that lives of students should not be endangered for pecuniary gains. “Has the Nigerian government met the NCDC criteria on COVID-19 protocol in our institutions? Must we endanger the lives of our children for pecuniary gains? Should the primary issue on life and death be used on profit matter?
“A situation where a room meant for four now houses 20 students cannot be said to be social-distancing compliant. Our position, as a responsible Union on all these is that; throwing schools open in the midst of all these, is an open invitation to tragic explosion of the COVID-19 scourge on a scale never witnessed anywhere since its outbreak!”. He said.
Earlier: ASUU Requests Reopening of Negotiations with Federal Govt
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has disclosed that it has formally sent a written request for reopening of negotiations to the Federal Government. The negotiations were abandoned in February due to disagreement over the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and both parties have not been able to meet since then due to the COVID-19 concerns.
The also asked the federal government to initiate a process that would lead to the validation of its alternative salary payment platform, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) and demanded that the government pull out all academic staff already captured on IPPIS and enrol them on UTAS.
According to ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, the union expect that federal government will facilitate the conducting of integrity test on UTAS. “We have written to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, telling him that we are ready for integrity test if it will be facilitated by government. We sent the letter on Friday.” he said.
He added that the union discussed the fixing of a new date for resumption of negotiations when it met with the Minister of Education last Monday and that the minister told them that he was going to make consultations on it.
“What we need from government is sincerity. If government is sincere with us and we come to a satisfactory understanding, we are not strike mongers; we don’t enjoy being on strike either. We only use it as a last resort, when government pushes us to strike. It is because successive governments do not listen to persuasive argument and do not honour agreements. That is why we always find ourselves embarking on strike,” he said.
Earlier: Pay Our Outstanding Salaries Before We Talk About Ending Strike – ASUU Tells FG
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has asked the Nigerian Government to pay salaries of members as part of conditions to suspend its ongoing strike.
Speaking at the unveiling of the union’s Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution at the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA) on Tuesday, National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, said the move was key to further negotiations with the government over the ongoing industrial action.
Ogunyemi said its members at the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) and the Michael Opara University of Agriculture (MOUAU) have not been paid about five months’ salaries by the Accountant-General of the Federation on account of non registration on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
He added that thousands of other academics across universities are suffering the same fate.
He said, “Thousands of other academics across the universities are suffering the same fate. So, while we counsel that government at both the federal and state levels must meet the task force specified guidelines for reopening of educational institutions, we insist that all the arrears of the withheld salaries of our members in federal and state universities must be paid immediately to pave for further discussion on the outstanding issues in the Memorandum of Action of February 7, 2019.”
The ASUU Chairman noted that the union had taken concerted steps towards achieving provisions of the IPPIS initiative with the UTAS.
He said that the software will cater to the peculiarities of universities in Nigeria both private and public.
“We had always promised that ASUU would produce a robust software solution that would be sensitive to the uniqueness of the university system in addressing personnel information and payroll system, among other things.
“Following our engagements with the Federal Government over the issues that eventually led to the declaration of the ongoing strike action on 17th March, 2020, the government declared that it accepts in principle the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, which is being developed by ASUU and its researchers for the financial administration of the university’s FG’s staff monthly payroll and accounting processes.
“In addition, the Federal Government pledged that when fully developed UTAS will be subjected to various integrity tests in order to verify its efficacy to see whether this final product will pass the necessary technical attribute test as specified by NITDA.
“On our part, ASUU had given a timeframe of 18 months to the government to develop, test, and deploy UTAS. In keeping with this promise, ASUU is pleased to announce that UTAS is now ready for the integrity tests required of it by the government. Indeed, the software was unveiled by way of demonstration to the minister and senior management staff of the Ministry of Education, including the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission yesterday, 17th August, 2020.
“We must however emphasise that UTAS is far more than just an alternative to IPPIS which does not respect the nature, structure, and character of the Nigerian university system.
“It was ill-advised, ab initio, to have deployed IPPIS in the universities. All the distortions and disruptions being reported within the university payrolls of federal universities in the last six months or so, even by those who initially welcomed IPPIS with open arms, were predicted by ASUU. Unlike IPPIS, however, the UTAS is a web-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application deployed for the overall management of university resources in an efficient, transparent, and accountable manner. It is developed to run on the concept of Software as a Service (SaaS), in which universities maintain sub-domains as tenants.
“Users are fully identified and authenticated for the purpose of gaining access to any of the aspects of the platforms such a user is appropriately authorised,” he added.
It is our sincere hope that the government would not renege on its promise because the benefits of UTAS to the university system (both public and private) cannot be found in any other software in Nigeria today. Now that the union is close to meeting the government’s demand on an alternative to IPPIS, it is our sincere hope that the substantive issues in the ongoing strike action would be given the desired attention,” he said.
ASUU had in March declared an indefinite strike, citing the Nigerian Government’s failure to meet its demands.
Earlier: ASUU Gives Conditions to End Strike
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called on the Federal Government to ensure the speedy conclusion of the renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement and other salient issues. The call was made on Tuesday by ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi in a bulletin.
The completion of the renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement, the union stressed, will birth new conditions of service, enhanced salaries for Nigerian academics and improved infrastructure for all public varsities. The academic union, through, the Chairman University of Ibadan Chapter, Professor Ayo Akinwole clarified that the ongoing strike is hinged on getting revitalization fund and unpaid earned academic allowances.
He also added that it would ensure that the government sets up and conduct visitation to universities, address the proliferation of state universities and issues of governance in them. Professor Ogunyemi noted that “efforts by agents of the government to derail the strike-through deflection of IPPIS contraption and denial of salaries had failed because the union was fighting a just cause”
The ASUU leader stressed that his members had remained resolute to get a better working environment and conditions of service, despite unpaid salaries of thousands of academics by the Federal Government and payment of distorted and amputated salaries to thousands of ASUU members. According to the union, the 11-year old current slave-like salary structure whose agreement was reached in 2009 took a struggle which started in 2006 to actualize eventually in 2009.
While assuring members that issue surrounding the payment of distorted or withheld salaries shall be resolved, it maintained that the current strike was to ensure that Nigerian children attend the best public varsity education and have the best of facilities and infrastructure that can compete globally. It condemned the Governments for allegedly adopting what it described as a herd-immunity approach to the fight against COVID-19 pandemic just as it appealed to ASUU members to “intensify community information, education, communication to support and promote the guidelines as well as deepen research and innovation activities in the community transmission phase of COVID-19”.
“One of our principal demands in the ongoing struggle is the resumption and speedy completion of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement which has dragged for more than three years.” ” It is only through renegotiation that the overdue review of our conditions of service, which include enhanced salaries could be achieved. Any further delay can no longer be tolerated”. “Let’s remember that the current salary structure was a product of efforts like the ongoing struggle between 2006 and 2009. Our demands also include outstanding demands in the 2019 FGN-ASUU MoA.”
“Recent reports show that seasoned academics with special skills in the employ of various universities on contract basis are now being disengaged as directed by IPPIS operators”. “This leaves students of the disengaged contract staff in great jeopardy. If Nigerian universities can no longer make decisions about the calibre and number of academics they require to deliver quality education, what is left of the university autonomy and academic freedom”, ASUU queried.
Earlier: ASUU Kicks as Federal Govt Sacks Contract Lecturers
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Friday said the “forced enrolment of university lecturers” in the Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System platform by the Federal Government has resulted in the sacking of contract scholars across higher institutions.
ASUU cited the Bayero University, Kano State, and the Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State, where the disengagement of contract lecturers had already been carried out.
It warned that such moves undermined the university autonomy to recruit competent local and foreign scholars, as was the global practice.
The ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, stated these in an interview with our correspondent, adding that lecturers at the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, and the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, had yet to receive their February and March salaries.
Ogunyemi said, “There are still two universities which had not got their salaries – Michael Okpara University and the University of Maiduguri. What we also suspected has now been confirmed; they forcefully moved our members to the IPPIS and consequently, contract staff have been sacked. And the disengagement of the contract staff is a disservice to the Nigerian university system as we have it today.
“The first problem with that is that it is going to rob our universities of the high calibre human resources in certain areas. These are areas where we have a scarcity of personnel. If I ask you, how many professors of neurosurgery do we have in Nigeria? I don’t think they are more than five, and universities have to produce neurosurgeons.
“These are the people who have to train a new crop of academics because it takes a professor to produce a professor. So, when you dispose of their services, you have cut off that chain of continuity.
“The disengagement has started in Federal University, Wukari, and the BUK, Kano. By doing that, IPPIS is creating a problem by appropriating the powers of the council in terms of employment, promotion, and disengagement of the people in the system.”
Reacting to ASUU’s comments, the Federal Ministry of Education said some universities were fraudulent in their employment of contract staff, noting that the government needed to reduce the huge personnel costs that burdened universities.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Mr Ben Goong, said, “I don’t know what they meant by expert hands. IPPIS is being implemented by the Ministry of Finance and Budget Planning. They have nothing to do with the employment of staff in universities.
“By October and November 2019, universities engaged so many staff; they were fraudulent about staff engagement and a university that has 5,000 staff will say they have 7,000 staff and you have this huge personnel cost that was pushed to the universities. Virtually, most universities are guilty of this.”
Earlier: Federal Govt. Threatens to Sue Striking Lecturers
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has indicated the federal government’s intention to drag the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) before the National Arbitration Panel and even the National Industrial Court (NIC) if the union fails to respond to invitation for negotiations.
He urged the striking lecturers to take the opportunity of a recent invitation by the federal government to return to the roundtable.
The minister said he had invited the leadership of the union for a zoom meeting, but they insisted on meeting him face-to-face.
“I invited ASUU for a zoom meeting in compliance with World Health Organisation (WHO) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) COVID-19 guidelines, but they insisted on meeting me face-to-face. We have labour laws,” he said.
But ASUU said negotiations via zoom would not produce the desired solution to the lingering dispute.
The union added that for it to suspend the strike, the federal government must make substantial progress in addressing its key demands, which include payment of arrears of earned allowances, revitalisation fund and constituting visitation panels for federal universities.
However, Ngige warned that if the union refuses to come for talks, the federal government might invoke the labour laws to compel its response.
He said: “The law permits the federal government to take the union to the National Arbitration Panel and even the National Industrial Court.”
According to a statement by his media aide, Mr. Emmanuel Nzomiwu, the minister spoke in his hometown, Alor, Anambra State, where he donated palliatives worth N15 million to vulnerable households to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on them.
He said the ASUU strike was all about the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), adding that “any other reason given by ASUU is an excuse.”
Ngige accused the leadership of the union of deceiving the members and not telling them the truth.
“We have a hierarchy of arbitration. There is the National Arbitration Panel. If I am tired, I can refer it to the National Arbitration Panel. If I am tired, I can refer it to the National Industrial Court. The better thing for them is to come and negotiate on a first-hand basis where we are not bringing an external arbitrator,” Ngige said.
The minister described the position of ASUU in the dispute with the federal government as laughable, saying “as an employee, you lack the right to dictate for your employers how to receive wages.”
“It is even in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention on wages. You cannot dictate for your employers how to pay you. But the important thing is for your salaries and wages to come to you. As a workman, you receive your payment as compensation for services rendered. So, that is on the statute everywhere. But for some strange reasons, this has been an issue with the Academic Staff Union of Universities. Why? They claimed that they are being migrated from the GFMIS (Government Integrated Financial Management Information (GFMIS) platform to the IPPIS),” he stated.
Ngige said the federal government had complained that it was losing a lot of money paying lecturers from the GFMIS platform, which only transmits money for their salaries to the university system through the bursar’s office, from where they are paid.
“The anomalies are that one, some of the people are ghost workers. They don’t exist at all but their names exist and they are drawing money from the federal government.
“Some people receive more than their due, because after the salaries, some who are teaching in various other universities are supposed to take 50 per cent as extra pay for teaching in that other universities and the maximum universities, they should teach is two. Some teach in three, some teach in four universities.
“Again, the taxes that are being deducted by your bursar and your vice-chancellors are not reflective of the taxes of PAYE (Pay As You Earn). They are not and because they are not, the shortfall of the taxes that are deducted, the various state governments where the universities are domiciled have petitioned the Joint Tax Board (JTB) to demand the shortfalls,” Ngige added.
The minister said over time, the shortfalls in tax deduction accumulated to over N800 billion and JTB (Joint Tax Board) penalised the federal government for these monies not paid to the states.
He added that the federal government from the office of Accountant General of the Federation paid over N800 billion to states.
According to him, the uncompromising attitude of ASUU in the dispute is worrisome to the federal government.
He said not minding that the strike, which commenced on March 9 did not follow due process, he brought the lecturers to a roundtable with the Federal Ministry of Education and the Accountant General of the Federation.
“We had discussions and they now said that some of the agreements we had in Memorandum of Action 2019, were not implemented vigorously and we agreed that they will be paid N25 billion for their earned academic allowances and another N25 billion for revitalisation of university system.
“The federal government paid the first tranche of N50 billion, N25 billion, and N25 billion.
“Thereafter, there was the issue of national minimum wage. Flowing from national minimum wage, there was the issue of consequential adjustment on that minimum wage, which cost the federal government N160 billion. I negotiated it.
“The federal government had to pay retroactively with effect from when the president signed the National Minimum Wage Act. So, the federal government could not pay ASUU the next tranche of N25 billion because it was due to be paid in October last year. They said there was a breach.
“We said we are owing and that we can pay for it. So, we restructured it and agreed that the government can pay them N20 billion and another N20 billion for earned academic allowances between April 2020 and May. We all agreed,” Ngige said.
The minister said the federal government even agreed to test the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) system proposed by ASUU to encourage Presidential Order 5 on local production, but the union asked for 18 months to enable its researchers to conclude work on it.
He said the government recommended that ASUU should migrate to the IPPIS while waiting for their researchers to conclude work on UNTAS and bring it for integrity test for all parties to agree, but the union rejected the proposal.
We Are Ready to Negotiate with FG – ASUU President
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has stated that the union had not refused an invitation from the government for negotiation during its ongoing strike and that the allegations of N800 billion by the Minister of Labour and Employment were baseless.
The ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, stated these in response to the statement by the Minister of Labour and employment, Ngige
According to the President of ASUU, the union has never declined an invitation to a negotiation meeting with the government. He said what the union asked government representatives to do was to send a response to the last letter the union sent to them. ” How can they claim to have invited us to a meeting without a clear agenda or any letter of invitation?” He queried.
On the N800 billion allegation, the ASUU president described the allegation as pure mischief stating that the union is thoroughly embarrassed that such reckless and baseless allegation could be credited to the Minister of Labour and Employment.
“In the first place, is ASUU responsible for the management of the payroll and personnel information in the universities? Secondly, how many of those responsible for the so-called “double payments” have the government apprehended, tried, and jailed to serve as deterrents?” He said.
Earlier: FG Directs ASUU to Suspend Strike Before Next Negotiation
The federal government has called on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to suspend its ongoing strike before talks over the union’s grievances which led to the strike will resume. This call was made by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige.
According to him, the federal government has demonstrated enough goodwill by paying salaries of the striking lecturers and urged them to discontinue their strike to allow for peaceful negotiations of their dispute.
The Minister mentioned that he has made efforts to reach out to ASUU for negotiation but due to the lockdown, such has not been possible.
The minister explained that there are two reasons why ASUU should call off the strike. The first reason is that government has shown goodwill and has offered olive branch by releasing the salaries of the university lecturers without any conditions.
The second is that it is immoral and despicable for those who should be conducting research as Nigerians for the discovery of new drugs and medical equipment that will be used during COVID-19 period to say that they are at home playing Ludo and Draft and other games.
“Even if schools are not open, ASUU members, especially researchers, are supposed to be going into their laboratories, going to botanic gardens to get some shrubs and other plants to be used in producing drugs during this COVID-19 outbreak.
“Those who are pharmacologists, who are in the electronics department and software engineers, this is the time for research to manufacture ventilators or make some inventions. It is unpatriotic for them to even continue saying that they are on strike at this time. They should not be saying it,” he said.
The minister also asked those complaining about some shortcomings in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information Systems (IPPIS) in the tertiary institutions that the issues would soon be satisfactorily addressed.
He said: “When IPPIS was introduced in the federal civil service, these hiccups were there. It took some time before they were rectified. We were being thorough. When I was in the National Assembly, we were complaining but the good thing is that the IPPIS desk in the Accountant General’s Office is listening and they are addressing the issues. It will be rectified and once this is done, they will pay the arrears or deductions,” he stated.
Earlier: ASUU Rejects Meeting With FG Via Zoom, Explains Why
The president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, has disclosed that the union has been unable to hold a physical meeting with the Federal Government due to the pandemic. He also explained that the union refused to hold meeting via Zoom platform with the Federal Government’s representatives, saying such meetings would not yield any tangible result as it would be difficult to control.
According to ASUU President, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, invited the union to a meeting in Abuja, as a response to union’s last official correspondence to him where the union rejected the submission of their Bank Verification Numbers as a condition for payment of lecturers’ outstanding salaries.
However, the union delegates were unable to go for the meeting due to the current lockdown which led the minister to suggest that both parties meet via Zoom platform. he stated that the union refused because such meeting cannot yield any positive result when most of their physical meetings in the past ended in a stalemate. He said the union is waiting for things to return to normal for a physical meeting to be possible.
He acknowledged that the government has indeed paid salaries of some members of the union, but not all. “Many of our members are yet to get their salaries as of Monday, and some of those who had even been paid were not paid in full. We are collating data to enable us know those affected,” he said.
He said though that salaries are not their major demand from the government but the implementation of the last Memorandum of Action to re-engineer the nation’s public university education.
The ASUU president said no member of the union submitted BVN before payment of their salaries.
“We knew submission of our BVN would lead to our forceful participation in the Integrated and Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) of the Federal Government and we still stand against the policy,” he declared.
Earlier: Strike Continues Even If FG Pays February and March Salaries – ASUU President
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has stated that its strike action will continue despite the president’s order that the February and March 2020 withheld salaries of lecturers in federal universities be paid. The Federal Government had earlier withheld the lecturers’ salaries over their refusal to register in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
According to the National President of ASUU, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, lecturers would not resume work because the strike was not only about IPPIS; however, the payment of salaries will pave the way for a meaningful dialogue with the Federal Government.
The ASUU president said paying the lecturers was not a favour, adding that “Members worked in February and we were still working in March before this coronavirus pandemic broke. It is expected that a labourer is paid his wages. Even as we are talking, people are supposed to be prepared to get their April salary.”
Prof. Abiodun also frowned at and rejected the demand of the FG that lecturers submit their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) as part of conditions for the payment of their February and March salaries. He said previously that ASUU members were paid without asking for their BVN so the union is suspecting that this is an indirect way to get ASUU back to IPPIS.
Earlier: This ASUU Strike Is Unjustifiable
Today, not only Nigerians but the generality of the world, are advised to stay at home as one of the best precautionary measures against the pandemic COVID-19 virus. Human lives are lost in an alarming number as a result of this pandemic. As we stay at home, an opportunity is available to all of us to reflect on our actions and inactions.
Part of what came to my mind is a reflection of the present “comprehensive and indefinite strike action” embarked by our Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). This strike came up after a review of the two- week warning strike of March 9, 2020 and the National Executive Council (NEC) consideration of the proposals made by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) of March 21, 2020.
As a financial member of ASUU, I also had the opportunity to access these proposals by our government. Not only this, but part of my primary assignment as a faculty in a university setting is also the analysis of results of research findings presented to me by my undergraduate and graduate students. It is only if this is done satisfactorily that a student would proceed to discuss his findings.
The proposals presented were numbered i to ix, and after each presentation, a stand was taken by our executive. For clarity sake, I shall represent a summary and decisions of the NEC on the proposals as follows: Funding for the revitalisation of public universities After much deliberation, the government proposed that by August 31, 2020, the document on sustainable funding of education would have been activated – necessary approvals secured, laws requiring amendment would have been drafted and sent to the National Assembly for processing.
The NEC observed that the document did not in any way refer to the 2019 FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The ASUU demanded a clear timeline for the phased release of the outstanding balance of about N1.1trillion based on 2013 MoU between the FG and ASUU. It was also observed that the “sign of commitment” to the 2013 MoU should not be less than one tranche of the outstanding balance, which is N220billion. Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).
It was agreed that government should work towards meeting the EAA obligation that was due for payment in November 2019. That government shall release N20bn for the payment of EAA on or before April 15, 2010. The NEC did not object. Salary shortfall Government stated that the ES, NUC and the Ministry of Education would cross-check with the vice chancellors of affected universities, verify the claims and process further. A timeframe of two weeks was given for this process. The NEC did not object.
Government agreed with the proposal from ASUU that the union be supported to address the NEC and promised that a meeting would be scheduled, latest at the end of the second quarter of 2020.
The NEC did not object. Payment of EAA to loyal ASUU members in the University of Ilorin Both parties are satisfied with the progress made on this issue. The NEC did not object.
Government noted that the non-existence of a board for PenCom has occasioned the delay in issuing the final license. The NUPEMCO Board was asked to write a letter to PenCom, requesting for issuance of certificate or renewal of the provisional license. The NEC did not object. Visitation panels Government proposed that the visitation panels would commence work at the end of the second quarter of 2020. The NEC did not object. Reconstitution of the government renegotiating team.
The renegotiation of the FGN-ASUU agreement of 2009 has resumed. Both sides hoped the process would be successfully concluded. The NEC, however, noted with regret that the government team had suspended indefinitely, the planned meeting on account of COVID-19 pandemic.
Government accepts ASUU’s proposal on the UTAS with the given timelines of full implementation for the period of 18 months. In view of this, the Federal Government appealed to ASUU members to enroll on the IPPIS within the intervening period before the full development of the UTAS. And they shall be migrated to the UTAS when fully developed.
Government made a commitment that no one would miss their legitimate earning as a result of enrolment on the IPPIS platform. Furthermore, government would make special arrangements for the immediate payment of those staff not yet captured on the IPPIS platform and were being owed February salaries and other allowances, upon commencement of enrolment on IPPIS platform. At this point, and surprisingly, ASUU rejected the application of force on members to join the IPPIS irrespective of the patriotic evidence of offering the UTAS as an alternative.
Based on the foregoing review, our NEC went ahead to declare a total and indefinite strike action, beginning on Monday, March 23, 2020. This appears contrary to our modus operandi in taking decision for strike action. With over 15 years as a university lecturer, most resolutions by ASUU NEC are brought to congress for deliberations and resolution. At the end of these meetings, resolutions are put to vote and the results are collated to the NEC for computation and final decision. But, unfortunately, this time around, it was a haste and unilateral decision to embark on strike by the National Council. Ironically, for months now, our colleagues in the Faculty of Medicine, who are also in the teaching hospitals, have been collecting part of their salaries through the IPPIS.
But, our ASUU has never objected to that. We can clearly see that our ASUU NEC has already scored these proposals from the Federal Government 66.7per cent. By our standard in the Nigerian tertiary institution grading scale, this should be certified at a very good level. So, this pass mark makes the stand of ASUU NEC on strike action unjustifiable.
The generality of Nigerians believe and accept that our universities are grossly underfunded. But as university academics we need to extend a hand of friendship to ensure collaborative researches with clear indices of human development. Our university managements have a big role to play in providing seed funding from part of their internally generated revenues to kick-start some good research proposals from staff and students. I personally witnessed a confirmation of the Federal Government that the IPPIS would assist in arresting corruption in our ivory towers and the civil service.
Last December, when the IPPIS officials came to my university to register/enroll staff members, we saw rushed recruitment of new staff without following due process. But in reality, before this exercise, many departments had been making case for additional teaching staff recruitment. For instance, I took a class of more than 500 students, and as a science subject, I had to also conduct practical sessions. What can someone say about management of a class like this? This is common to most courses in our Nigerian universities.
The development of the UTAS as an alternative to the IPPIS should be seen by the government as a commendable effort. But, we know that software development deployment and final development will always have to take a timeframe before final implementation. My university has developed and implemented a software on examination, called ExamLogic, but you find that at some instances we have to refer back to our colleagues that developed the software to resolve some emerging issues. My take on this is that the timeframe implementation should be initiated until we finally migrate from the IPPIS to UTAS. Based on history, we have already had a similar experience with the new pension policy of the Federal Government.
Today, we have the NUPEMCO, which takes care of our pension issues. One other point to note is that the Federal Government should in future look inward for some of its development policies. If ASUU can, within few months, be able to develop the UTAS, then there is no point in awarding a contract in IPPIS development. Using our local human and material resources in this and other related issues would go a long way in improving our capacity.
Finally, and based on my analysis, the present total strike is uncalled for and did not follow the required due process in an academic setting. I urge our congress to get registered with the IPPIS while the sequential migration to the UTAS from the IPPIS should be judiciously pursued. As an ASUU member, I will be proud in the future to have given my contribution in the effort of our government to kill the corruption pandemic in our country, Nigeria. May the almighty Allah see us through the COVID-19 pandemic that is threatening the existence of human race.
is an associate professor in the Department of Botany, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities says it ordered its members, who are lecturers across universities, to embark on strike during the coronavirus pandemic because there would never be a time approved for such an action.
The President, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, on Tuesday, also inaugurated ASUU COVID-19 intervention in an effort to sensitise the public and check the spread of the dreaded virus at the University of Ibadan.
The intervention materials, produced by the UI branch of ASUU, comprised about 1,000 100ml of hand sanitisers. The programme included sensitisation campaign, via jingles in Pidgin and English languages; posters in three languages and hand gloves.
Ogunyemi, who was represented on the occasion by the coordinator of ASUU, UI zone, Prof. Ade Adejumo, said, “We cannot confront the challenge by bemoaning our fate. What is expected is that we join forces to do what China and other well-organised societies have done to flatten the curve.
“ASUU acknowledges that public information, education and communication are key. To demonstrate our concerns for the welfare and well-being of the Nigerian people, ASUU members nationwide shall be willing to work with medical and paramedical workers as volunteers in their public enlightenment and professional intervention initiatives.
“All branches shall explore areas of strategic collaboration with federal, state and local governments to provide support in terms of information and expert skills drawn from our members across the nation. For us in ASUU, this is not an occasion for blame game or buck passing. However, it calls for sober reflection on what we need to do differently with our health and education.”
Ogunyemi said the coronavirus crisis had exposed the country’s “naked and empty teaching hospitals” which justified its industrial action to demand revitalisation funds for public universities.
He, however, said the union would be willing to serve as volunteers nationwide in the coronavirus crisis to work with the medical and paramedical workers involved in tackling the scourge.
He said, “With qualitative and accessible university education, we can guarantee a storehouse of knowledge in scientists, doctors, nurses, laboratory technologists and other medical and paramedical personnel for coping with a global pandemic such as COVID-19. But it appears our universities have no place in the current efforts of government.
“See, for instance, how naked and empty our teaching hospitals turned out to be when threatened by the early wave of COVID-19. Yet, these are laboratories established to produce medical and paramedical personnel for our country.”
The Chairman, ASUU, UI, Prof. Ayo Akinwole, said despite being owed two months’ salary, the union would not abandon its people.
He said the intervention materials would be distributed to the University College Hospital, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, the university health centre and the Oyo State Ministry of Health.
Akinwole said, “It is not surprising that our health facilities were not equipped and staffed to respond to emergencies such as the Coronavirus pandemic. All kits donated by Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma Foundation, must be distributed to medical centres to conduct more tests.
“ASUU has always argued against the underfunding of education and health. Nigerians should demand that government must release funds to public hospitals to scale up their response to the disease. This can be done through provision of funding for laboratories in Nigerian universities to mass-produce hand sanitisers, face masks and oxygen plants.”